This week we return to the Losail Circuit for the Tissot Grand Prix of Doha.
With Monster Energy Yamaha Team MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales taking the first victory of the season, the Spaniard may have to watch his back come Sunday’s race. As the top class looks ahead to the same circuit for the second week, it is expected that everyone will up their game this time around.
In 2020, we witnessed numerous back-to-back race weekends at the same circuits, and it proved that having the same outcome as the last is very rare. It was only in Jerez last year that not only was the winner the same, but the runner up also. So, despite Viñales’ phenomenal performance last Sunday, it will be a challenge and a half for the Yamaha man to repeat his result.
The strongest contenders this weekend will be the Ducati men, as both Ducati Lenovo Team and Pramac Racing had a flyer of an opening round last time out. With all four riders switching teams for 2021, it was an impressive feat for all of them. While Francesco Bagnaia and Johann Zarco found themselves on the podium – with a fantastic last corner steal – Jack Miller and Jorge Martin also received praise for their rides. Ducati’s biggest issue to conquer this time around will be the tyre management; if this is resolved before Race Day, then we should expect the men in red to fight to the end, and maybe be even more ruthless than before.
A team that we all hope can redeem themselves this weekend is Petronas Yamaha SRT. After the dismal results of both Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha have set out to try to figure out the specifics when it comes to what went wrong – while Rossi had a decent start to the race, Morbidelli sank like a stone, so something is obviously very wrong when it comes to the bike. With Petronas showing serious competitiveness last season, with Morbidelli being the 2020 runner-up, it would be a shame for both riders to continue the season as they did last weekend. Hopefully all issues will be amended, and we will see them back in the pack come Sunday.
Can Yamaha stay on top, or will Ducati be out for blood?
Free Practice 1 will begin on Friday at 15:40 Local Time (GMT +3).
Feature Image: Gold and Goose